IT Systems and Data Protection

08.02.19

Rochdale council worker jailed for £80,000 theft in ‘desperately flawed con job’

A council worker who abused his position to steal £80,000 of public money from Rochdale council has been sentenced to jail for 18 months after his “fool-proof plan to get rich” was uncovered.

Matthew Ravey, 28, who reportedly saw himself as “some sort of criminal mastermind,” admitted to making fraudulent payments and creating false insolvency documents for him and his friends between 2015 and June 2016 whilst working at Rochdale Borough Council as a business rates officer.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said the scam was uncovered when a colleague noticed by chance a fraudulent claim from Ravey, and described his decision to use his employer’s email address to orchestrate his plan as “one of many frankly bizarre factors in his ill-considered scam.”

The Rochdale council officer pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud and one count of theft at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court, and was sentenced to one year and six months in prison after stealing a total of £80,517 at a cost of £76,308 to the council.

A council employee had noticed by chance a business rates refund processed by Ravey, despite records showing the company in question had dissolved in 2014.

He attempted to lie when confronted by a colleague despite him using his work email to tell his friends “I have used it on three loans I had in the past. Two have been written off completely…BOOM xx.”

An internal investigation was launched and found that Ravey had made a total of 26 separate fraudulent transfers, including to one NHS employee who used his NHS email account to arrange the fraud, and another to a friend who later admitted to spending the money on cocaine and prostitutes.

In total, £73,232 was transferred to the council worker’s friends – four of which have also been sentenced to varying amounts of unpaid work.

Detective constable Sarah Langley, of GMP’s Fraud Disruption Team, commented: “It’s clear from correspondence that Ravey imagined himself as some sort of criminal mastermind who’d concocted a fool-proof plan to get rich while avoiding his debtors.

“After being confronted, he even tried to deny he’d done anything wrong – despite the paper chain from his computer clearly implicating him and his co-conspirators in his desperately flawed con job.

“Let’s not forget this was public money. Everyone – not least taxpayers in Rochdale – should be disgusted by his actions.”  

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